Kristoffersson wins opener at the beginning of the electronic era
The ICE supercars have been replaced for 2022 by new top-of-the-line RX1e machines, all powered by Kreisel Electric engines.
Eight cars made it onto the opening lap and four-time champion Kristoffersson was class of the field. Barring a worrying moment early in his semi-final, he dominated the weekend.
The Swede’s Volkswagen Polo stayed on the track for a short time, so Kristoffersson still had some work to do to make it to the finale. He fought his way back to second behind teammate Ole Christian Veiby to secure a mid-table spot for the finale.
Veiby, second semi-final winner Niclas Grönholm (PWR Racing PWR) and 2019 champion Timmy Hansen (Hansen Peugeot 208) all tried to lead into the first corner of the decider but all they got was Kristoffersson to allow them to be beaten at the exit to get to the front of the pack.
Once in the lead, he pulled away and won by 3.7 seconds to become the WRX’s first electric winner. It was the reigning champion’s 28th consecutive win and his WRX batting average is now better than one in three.
“It was a very good first weekend for the electric era of the WRX and it was great to see so many spectators along the track,” said the 33-year-old. “It’s been a huge challenge for everyone to get to this point and all the teams have done an incredible job just to be here.
Podium: Winner Johan Kristoffersson, Kristoffersson Motorsport, Second Timmy Hansen, Hansen World RX Team, Third Ole Christian Veiby, Kristoffersson Motorsport
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
“Obviously, with everything being so new, there is still work to be done, but it has been impressive to see how well the cars have been running with so little prior testing and we are constantly learning more about them.”
Hansen finished a close second after a tough duel with rally driver Veiby, who took it to the podium in his first WRX start since 2015.
Klara Andersson impressed in her first event in the premier class. The 22-year-old Swede finished fourth in the final, just ahead of team-mate Grönholm.
The next round is a double-header, scheduled to take place in Latvia in early September.